The Bulletromancer is a Bullet Hell Shmup that chronicles the romantic lives of spirits living in a lost corner of the afterlife. Developed by Ted Lauterbach, the creator of suteF, Vatn Squid, and the Visit series, The Bulletromancer is coming to PC and Mac in 2013.
The Bulletromancer also marks my first commercial work and will be "done-when-it's-done." It will also feature a full soundtrack created by Mike LeRoy who has written music for Andrew Brophy's Jump Jump Harvey and the upcoming Takishawa2.
The story centers around a mysterious character, who is only known as "???," and a pompous "Sir Kugal von Pulya," both of whom are highly skilled, up-and-coming "Bulletromancers." A Bulletromancer has the ability to create and control ballistic projectiles.
Development of the game started in early December of 2012 after building a prototype version for a Game Jolt Game Jam (in collaboration with Ashley Gwinnell of Force Of Habit who was plucking the musical strings).
What Should You Expect?
There are several really exciting things that The Bulletromancer is going to take on:
A NEW TAKE ON BULLET HELLS
If you don't know me, I have a love of Bullet Hell Shmups. After creating Vatn Squid and playing many, many more shmups since then, I've found a lot to gripe about.
In The Bulletromancer, one of my biggest goals is to allow room for ALL skill-levels, from beginner to seasoned pro, and in doing so, I've decided to eliminate the traditional lives system.
Blasphemy! Well, when you take a close look at lives, what purpose do they serve in a shmup? Early on, they force you to learn and acutely memorize stages by REPEATEDLY having to start over from the beginning when you fail; progress is generally made as you memorize more and more. There are plenty of other ways to have tension or skill checks these days.
I have three problems with lives in general; one, you don't necessarily LEARN how to be a better player. All you NEED to do is survive, and things like chains, scores, and other systems just become irrelevant. Two, most games with lives were originally designed to "eat your quarters," and now most allow you to CONTINUE anyway. This also makes no sense; if you have an infinite amount of continues, what's the point of even HAVING lives? And three: anything in the realm of narrative just gets thrown straight out the window. Forcing restarts guarantees that any cut-scenes, dialogue, or mood will instantly become obnoxious. Who wants to see the same text hundreds of times?
Which is a perfect segue into my next point:
AN INTERESTING NARRATIVE AND WORLD
Be honest with me. Have you ACTUALLY played a Bullet Hell that has a story you came back to, that kept you up, or made you play just another round to see what happens? I mean a story, too: not a convoluted mash-of-things-weird-characters-do-like Touhou. Something written with intention, meaning, and could possibly even touch or inspire.
I want you to feel the emotions that these characters are going through. I know this kind of thing is a tall order, and frankly, a lot of peoples' attempts fall flat, let alone even try at all. But, if it was anything I learned from suteF, mood and atmosphere are extremely powerful story telling tools. And much like suteF, The Bulletromancer is a game pulled from the fiber of my being (albeit a little more transparent).
MY FIRST COMMERCIAL TITLE
I fully intend to sell digital copies of The Bulletromancer! I've never done it before with any of my personal projects, but I finally feel like it's time for me to start developing with my future games in mind.
I've always wanted to be able to do my personal independent games full-time, and unfortunately, the only way to do that is by making money (believe me, if I felt I could make money by giving them away, I would). If The Bulletromancer "performs" well, it may mean that I can do more independent work!
But, because I'm building the game aside from day-to-day work, I have not set a solid release date; it's done-when-it's-done. However, I will finish The Bulletromancer. I made sure I was far enough along in development before I'd go so far to let everyone know it exists! :D
FURTHER INFORMATION AND INQUIRIES
The Bulletromancer has its own web page, and you should refer interested people to it:
If you want to get in touch with me about The Bulletromancer, email me at:
theBulletromancer at gmail dot com
ted dot lauterbach at gmail dot com!
I'd love to answer questions, have discussions, and provide anything you need to let your followers know about the project!